‘It’s a Sin’ never succumbs to death’s gloom and instead embraces life to the fullest. IN THE 1980’S WEST, AN EDGY AND IRREVERENT TAKE ON HOMOSEXUALITY AND AIDS
Critic’s Rating: 4.0/5
It’s A Sin Story
In 1980s London, a group of 18-year-old men explores what it means to be gay while living (or dying) in the shadow of a new mysterious sickness afflicting gays. As the AIDS pandemic continues to wreak havoc on their lives and relationships, their friendship is pushed to the test.
It’s A Sin Review
The premise for ‘It’s a Sin,’ written and created by Russel T Davies (Queer as Folk), seems like a dark and melancholy tale of death and despair. But Peter Hoar’s 5-episode series, directed by him, is far from that. It’s a celebration of a way of life that is still scorned, persecuted, and misunderstood, even by those who live it. Consider what it was like 40 years ago. It’s a narrative set in 1981 that’s much ahead of its time. Ritchie, Roscoe, and Colin, three young homosexual guys, arrive in London as strangers at first, but their sexuality quickly becomes a common thread that links them together.
And they move in with their best friends, Jill and Ash, who are both gay. Their lives are defined by excessive partying, living in the moment, and a great deal of action between the sheets. But their carefree existence is suddenly disrupted by a new virus that is murdering homosexual men over the world. While there is more knowledge of HIV and AIDS in America, information on the disease remains dangerously low in London, with some even referring to it as “gay cancer.”
This, however, does not imply that the fun is over. Davies’ rebellious characters, on the other hand, go about their lives with their own unique flair and ideals. And this is the show’s essence, which is based on irreverence and edginess.
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While there is a looming threat of a virus that is a death sentence, on the one hand, there is also hope and defiance, backed by strong friendships that have weathered the storm. As they confront their own truths and demons, Davies offers each of his key characters ample room to grow and prosper. From profoundly devout families that demonize homosexuality to bigoted parents whose kids could never have the fortitude to come out of the closet, the show explores a wide spectrum of relationships and knowledge of different sexuality in the 1980s. Nonetheless, there are parents who stand by and watch their child die while acknowledging and supporting their decision.
The audience is kept engaged by the range of personalities and circumstances.
When Ritchie (Olly Alexander), the most hedonistic of them all, marches on to achieve his ambitions, and Roscoe (Omari Douglas) doesn’t miss a beat before making the most audacious actions, the show comes alive. Then there’s Colin (debutant Callum Scott Howells), a Welshman who is endearingly understated and awestruck by the brand new colorful world he finds himself in. These little guys deliver flawless performances, effortlessly bringing their roles to life. And it’s a noble young girl named Jill, played excellently by Lydia West, who fights disinformation about AIDS while also fighting for it.
In his appearance as a wise homosexual guy Henry Coltrane, Neil Patrick Harris is spot on. As the stylish long-haired desi man Ash, who radiates earthy sexuality, debutant Nathaniel Curtis is immensely enticing. Add to it the brilliantly reproduced 1980s London life, complete with God-like perfection in stage design, clothes, hair, and make-up.
It’s not often that a narrative about a marginalized group is so timely and universal that it engages and entertains a large audience. ‘It’s a Sin’ never succumbs to death’s gloom and instead embraces life to the fullest.
Watch It’s A Sin Season 1
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